Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Deshais, Guadeloupe

We checked out of Les Saintes and filled up with water at the Yacht Club before leaving. This is the only place we've actually done this (did it also four years ago) but it's quite easy. You tie up at their distinctive mooring, dinghy ashore to pay, and then fill your tanks from the hose tied to the mooring. Our sail today took us down the west coast of Guadeloupe to Deshais, a wonderful little town at the northwest end. On the way we were buzzed by hundreds of jet skis!

It looked like a scene from a James Bond Movie. Waves of people standing hunched over their machines raced down the coast. After one group of twenty or so passed we'd look back and there on the horizon was another approaching. A helicopter flew up and down watching them and taking photos. We felt sorry for the few stragglers that struggled along after, most with engine problems but seemingly determined to finish whatever the timing.

This is a large harbor with good holding and pretty good protection. We had strong memories of coffee and croissants in the morning there watching the town wake up. This time we couldn't find that cafe but the food was just as good in the more modern version on the main street. Unfortunately there was no view but lots of friendly local habitues. One fun coincidence was the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream freezer prominent in the cafe (see the picture).

We had another morning hike planned and wanted an early start. Chris Doyle had recommended it (the hike not the early start). You go north along the waterside street to the end and find a path leading up the hill, over it and down the other side to a very long white crescent beach waiting there. We walked about half way and spent hours swimming and reading in the shade of the trees. There is one beach bar on the south end and a whole village of them at the north end. It looked like a good place to have lunch but it was too early as we passed through.

At this end also was the end of a fresh water river that was at that moment dammed up by the beach. A group of young people were swimming and kyacking there. Instead of retracing our steps along the beach we passed through the restaurants, out the narrow road to the main highway. It was a pleasant walk back along it and over the hill into Deshais. That's a map of the area above on the left. The trail is in yellow, the white is the road and the "You are here" the restaurant court.

That evening we strolled along the beach road looking at the restaurants and their menus. It wasn't the menu or the ambience that made us make our decision. It was a charming 8 year old girl who lured us in, played games with us and made us laugh a lot! The lobster was a little dry but the evening was a hit!

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